Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest What started as a heartbreaking story of loss and devastation in a small farm community was transformed into lasting legacy honoring the memory of a promising young man.With a bright future ahead, 18-year-old Noah Cox was tragically killed in late May in a tractor rollover accident while baling hay. Cox was a noted cattle showman who had multiple grand champion steer banners from the Athens County Fair. This was his last year of junior show eligibility.After the terrible loss of Cox this spring, his good friend Austin Pullins (also an accomplished steer showman) decided to finish out his market beef projects at the Ohio State Fair and the Athens County Fair. This set the stage for the early-August Athens County Junior Market Beef Show and the incredible livestock sale that followed.“When I walked into the fairgrounds I could feel it,” said Jason Langley, the Washington CH-based auctioneer from the Athens County Junior Fair Livestock Sale. “I’ve been selling down there for a number of years and there was just this quiet over the crowd. When you go to a fair sale there is usually a lot of energy and a lot of activity. When I walked in there I could feel it in the air and [Noah] not being there was a huge impact at the Athens County Fair.”The Athens County Fair Junior Market Beef Show was still fresh in everyone’s mind at the sale.“When Noah passed away his good friend Austin stepped in there to help get the steers ready and he won that show with Noah’s steer. It was the best steer in the barn. It wasn’t a feel-good situation for the judge. It was the best steer. I don’t even know if the judge knew the situation,” Langley said. “After they did that, Austin came in with his steer and got reserve champion. When the champion drive was on, Austin was in there showing Noah’s steer instead of his own. It was awesome for him to get that for Noah.”The sale then got off to its somber start.“They told me what happened and I knew it was going to be huge, even if he had placed last in the show. But how do you do this without taking away from the other kids? A group of business people from the area got together and put in money and called me with that amount of money. We sold the steer and there were eight or 10 buyers involved and that was $26,000, which is what the steer sold for in the ring. Then I gave the opportunity to the people in the crowd to donate to this. After it was all said and done, I collected an additional $37,050,” Langley said. “You talk about tears, goose bumps, hugs, cheers. It was unbelievable. It was what 4-H is all about and what agriculture is about — coming together as a community to support a young man and his family. It was a touching moment. If you can’t get excited about a story like this, I don’t know what you need. There was something like 40,000 views of the video from the auction.”In addition to the livestock sale proceeds, commemorative t-shirts were sold in memory of Noah Cox.“They started making a few and pretty soon they were making hundreds of these purple shirts and selling them and the proceeds go to a new barn they are putting up at the fairgrounds — a grooming barn at the end of the steer barn,” Langley said. “They have a tent there now but they are building this barn in his memory.”The purple shirts feature the phrase “Succeeding in the show ring of life” and more than 800 have been sold, with proceeds benefitting the Noah Cox Memorial Fund and Athens County 4-H and FFA members.Donations continued after the sale and by the next morning, the total contributions toward the sale and the Noah Cox Memorial Fund were over $70,000. The new building honoring Cox will be constructed before the 2018 Athens County Fair.The selection of the grand champion steer was a very emotional moment at the Athens County Fair. Photo by Raven Williams.